Solstice Celebrations – Past and Present

Summer Solstice

With the warmth of the season caressing the land, the celebration of the Summer Solstice brings forth a truly joyous recognition that we can now enjoy the fruits of our labors in the past season. It is not surprising that this same spirit of pleasure and fun had carried over into our modern-day recognition of this, the longest day of the year.

Falling on or about June 22nd, the Summer Solstice is a time of light and of fire. It is a time to reflect upon the growth of the season: the seeds that were planted in the earth and the seeds planted in our souls. It is a time of cleansing and renewal. It is a time of love and growth as well.

Significance of Summer Solstice

In pre-historic times, summer was a joyous time of the year for those Aboriginal people who lived in the northern latitudes. The snow had disappeared; the ground had thawed out; warm temperatures had returned; flowers were blooming; leaves had returned to the deciduous trees. Some herbs could be harvested, for medicinal and other uses. Food was easier to find. The crops had already been planted and would be harvested in the months to come. Although many months of warm/hot weather remained before the fall, they noticed that the days were beginning to shorten, so that the return of the cold season was inevitable.

The first (or only) full moon in June is called the Honey Moon. Tradition holds that this is the best time to harvest honey from the hives.

This time of year, between the planting and harvesting of the crops, was the traditional month for weddings. This is because many ancient peoples believed that the grand union of the Goddess and God occurred in early May at Beltaine.

Since it was unlucky to compete with the deities, many couples delayed their weddings until June. June remains a favorite month for marriage today. In some traditions, “newly wed couples were fed dishes and beverages that featured honey for the first month of their married life to encourage love and fertility. The surviving vestige of this tradition lives on in the name given to the holiday immediately after the ceremony: The Honeymoon.”